Kidnap threat at animal experiments firm

A CHILLING kidnap threat has been issued against one of the senior managers working for the Huntingdon Life Sciences animal experiments company – target of animal rights protestors.

By David Green

A CHILLING kidnap threat has been issued against one of the senior managers working for the Huntingdon Life Sciences animal experiments company – target of animal rights protestors.

The threat, being investigated by police, was that his wife and children were at risk of being snatched.

It is the latest in a long series of threats, intimidation and assaults on the company's staff and employees of suppliers, bankers and insurers.


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Last week, three people invaded the office of a Diss taxi firm claiming it did business with HLS, which uses animals to test the safety of new pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and veterinary drugs before they can be released on the market.

The protestors entered a first floor office and started filming with a video camera but left of their own accord. The firm denies working for HLS.

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The kidnap threat was voiced to the Crimestoppers freephone number and is thought to be aimed at a senior manager based at the firm's Huntingdon headquarters.

HLS employs about 350 people at Occold, near Eye, where staff have largely escaped the intimidation and assaults directed at their Huntingdon colleagues but have also been warned to be on their guard against militants.

Some Huntingdon staff have had their cars fire-bombed while in February 2001 managing director, Brian Cass, suffered a three-inch head wound after being attacked by three men wielding baseball bats.

Police are taking the latest telephoned threat very seriously as the message, from an anonymous caller, named one of the managers and referred to a property the family had been visiting regularly, suggesting some form of surveillance operation had been undertaken.

An HLS spokesman confirmed an anonymous call had been made to the Crimestoppers freephone line saying a manager's wife and children could be kidnapped.

"We get all sorts of threats all the time, it's on-going. Many of the threats are fairly broad, but when you receive them personally you take notice," he added.

The company has been calling for a concerted and focussed crackdown of animal rights "terrorists" and officials last year obtained a promise of Government action.

A Cambridgeshire police spokeswoman said a series of threats against HLS staff had been made over the past three years.

"We have carried out investigations and advised the company on security," she added.

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